Hello Meredith, et al.,
I'm five months pregnant, and my boyfriend of five years wants to sleep in separate bedrooms. We're in our mid-30s and have a wonderful and loving relationship. We have great communication most of the time, and very rarely do we have arguments. Recently he started a new job that is incredibly demanding of his time, and his boss asked him if he can take on more work. Additionally, he travels a lot – every month for weeks at a time (it's only supposed to be 30 percent, but it feels like it's going to be closer to 50 percent). Normally this wouldn't bother me since I, too, am a workaholic, but herein lies the problem – it is taking up ALL of his time. He comes home from work and works until he goes to bed. And last night he said I'm getting too big and am taking up too much space, so he wants his own bedroom. Additionally, he wants to continue sleeping there after the baby is born so he can get a decent sleep. (He did offer to assist with night-time feedings if I'm too exhausted to nurse. How thoughtful.)
We got in an argument about this last night and I ended up sleeping in the spare room so he could get a good night's sleep in the bedroom. Furthermore, last week we bought a new mattress, and I offered to buy a king-size bed, but he refused, saying there is no way it could fit up the stairs, which the engineer in me found to be nonsense. I instantly gave a solution, but he still refused. I'm starting to feel disconnected to him since he started this job. I don't think he's making our family a priority, but yet instead making himself and work a priority. Am I being over-reactive? Am I making an issue out of a non-issue? I don't know if the hormones are making me over-sensitive and are getting the best of me. Did anyone else sleep in separate rooms?
– Sleepless in not Seattle
People who ask about sleeping arrangements are often more stressed out about what's happening while they're awake. If they feel loved and understood during the daytime hours, they're not so concerned about where everyone crashes for the night. In your case, the same is true. You object to his distance at night because he's bailed on you during the day.
You mention great communication, so go ahead and use that skill. Ask him how you're supposed to stay connected if he's working all day and sleeping elsewhere. Can you make up for the lost hours some other time? Can one weekend day be devoted to hanging out and sleeping in together? Also find out why work has become such a priority, because sure, new jobs require commitment, but this seems over the top. Is he worried about money? Is this baby anxiety? What scares him the most about the next step?
It also might help to spend some time with great couples who have with kids. Ask how they managed their time and maintained their bond as they started their family. Sometimes it helps to remind yourself that people you know – and like – got through it.
Readers? How should she talk to him about this? Anyone else sleep in separate rooms?